Not Allowed to Use GPS on United Flight

Old Jun 27, 12, 11:35 am
  #1  
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Not Allowed to Use GPS on United Flight

On a flight from Chicago to Albuquerque on 29 May I was told by two flight attendants that I could not use my GPS even though we were at 36,000 ft. I showed the second FA the page in the United magazine that specifically allows such use. She supposedly then asked the captain and he said that GPS devices were not allowed--period!

Below is my email to United, the CSR response, and my terse response to customer service.

Anyone have any similar experiences or ideas on the subject?

My 1st email:

"Message: I was traveling on United flight 3468 from Chicago (ORD) to
Albuquerque (ABQ) on 29 May 2012. The aircraft was an Embraer ERJ-170.
We were at 30,000+ feet and I was using my Garmin NUVI 660--a GPS
device. A flight attendant informed that GPS devices were not allowed.
I assured him that they were and that I had used my GPS on many previous
flights. Shortly, another flight attendant told me that I could not use
the GPS. I turned it off but told her that I was certain it was
allowed.

I then looked in the United magazine and on page 129 it listed GPS as
one of the devices allowed above 10,000 feet. She then contacted the
aircraft captain (supposedly) and he also said that GPS devices were not
allowed.

When my flight ended in Albuquerque the person sitting in front of me
inquired about my conversation with the flight attendants. When I told
her about not being able to use my GPS device she informed me that she
was an off-duty United flight attendant and that I should have been able
to use the GPS.

I subsequently used my GPS on return flights from Phoenix and Houston on
United. In each case the flight attendants said that GPS devices were
allowed above 10,000 feet.

What is the truth about GPS devices? Are they or are they not allowed
above 10,000 feet? Is there a uniform United policy?

I have used my GPS on hundreds of flights on various airlines and this
is the only one where I have been told that it was impermissible to use
my GPS.

Is this the only flight crew in the United States that doesn't know that
GPS devices are allowed above 10,000 feet?

Awaiting your reply."

The idiotic response from the CSR:

" Thank you for contacting United Customer Care and our apology for the
delay with this response. I did see in our inflight magazine that GPS
devices are allowed above 10,000 feet. However, as a reminder that if
you listen to the safety demonstration video shown at the beginning of
every flight it does mention that you are to comply to all uniformed
personel instructions. Onboard the aircraft when your in the sky the
Captain is the sole authority as when your on a ship in the middle of
the ocean. And if the a uniformed crew member asks you to turn off your
GPS device you are required to comply.

Regards,

XXXX XXXX
Customer Care"

and my response to his infantile reply:

"This is an unacceptable response. The response to my question(s) requires information from someone outside customer service.
It is your job to get that information--even if it requires you to do some work. I don't want and will not accept a trivial answer
that the "flight crew is in charge." B.S. There is a United policy on GPS devices. That policy seems to be in the United magazine.
If that is not the United policy, it should be removed from the magazine. What is the United policy?

You failed to answer my question as to whether GPS devices are allowed or not allowed on United flights above 10,000 feet.
There has to be a United fleet-wide policy on this. You also failed to address whether this flight crew is aware of the United policy with respect to GPS devices above 10,000 feet. Is this the only United flight crew that is unaware of the United policy? All other flight crews seem to be informed of the correct policy.

I expect a better answer than you provided. If I don't hear from you by 10 July 2012, I will elevate this matter to a higher level.
And your name will most assuredly be mentioned.

I don't know what your level of experience is in customer service but I will NOT accept your answer. I advise you to consult with
your supervisor if you are unable, unwilling, or incapable of providing a cogent answer.

I want to know the United Airlines answer."

Last edited by JATR4; Jun 27, 12 at 2:12 pm Reason: Content
JATR4 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 11:37 am
  #2  
 
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I agree it's absurd and probably something made up by the FA on the spot out of ignorance and supported by the captain just for the sake of not making the FA look bad.. however one thing to note.. you were flying on a UX carrier and maybe they have a different rule than UA does. But more likely I think it's my first scenario.
SEA1K4EVR is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 11:41 am
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First off, CHILL OUT !

Secondly, remove CSR's name from post. Against FT rules. Further, I don't think your threat to expose him to higher-ups is very weighty.

Thirdly, have you chilled yet?
clublounger is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 11:43 am
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Not Allowed to Use GPS on United Flight

Maybe not get so angry at the CS rep.
cjkcue is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 11:47 am
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LOL at the last e-mail.

All this over a GPS? LOL
apodo77 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 11:52 am
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You deserve compensation right now!!!!
chinatraderjmr is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 11:53 am
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Wow!

If you thought the first response you received was terse I'd love to read the next one.
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Old Jun 27, 12, 11:55 am
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Could it also be United Express vs Mainline? They could not be aware of the printed policy (not a good excuse but... would explain things) or could it be that smaller craft don't allow the use but mainline do?

p.s. you forgot to correct the improper use of your by the Customer Service Rep. Be sure to make him cry for that as it seems to be your mission.
Yoshi212 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 11:56 am
  #9  
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The Captain is in command of the flight. He gave an order related to safety or security. Even UA (UX sub) won't and can't challenge it. Move on.
Often1 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 12:00 pm
  #10  
 
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I think the UA CS rep and the in-flight safety book made it very clear. UA allows GPS devices when used above 10k feet. They also have a rule that overrides all other rules like the GPS rule - all passengers are required to comply with the commands of any uniformed employee, and the flight captain has the final say in the matter. United's policy to allow GPS devices was overruled by the FA and captain. Sorry about your luck, but no amount of pushing United will cause anything to be changed in the future. Enjoy using the GPS when you can, and quietly put it away when the captain instructs you to stop using it.
vortix is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 12:01 pm
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Why were you using a GPS on a flight, were you worried the Captain was going the wrong way? haha

I thought I read somewhere a GPS is set up to not work so many feet above the air so it couldn't be used to direct like a homemade missile? I don't know, maybe I am making it up but I thought I heard that.
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Old Jun 27, 12, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by DougDons View Post
Why were you using a GPS on a flight, were you worried the Captain was going the wrong way? haha

I thought I read somewhere a GPS is set up to not work so many feet above the air so it couldn't be used to direct like a homemade missile? I don't know, maybe I am making it up but I thought I heard that.
LOL

Actually I used mine a few times right after I got it just for fun. It was sort of neat. Not sure why the OP got so worked up about the response.
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Old Jun 27, 12, 12:09 pm
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Not Allowed to Use GPS on United Flight

Relax. There are more important things in life to worry about. The captains word is final. Whatever the policy may be.

And stop wasting the time of customer devices reps.
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Old Jun 27, 12, 12:19 pm
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http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...ain-about.html
n198ua is offline  
Old Jun 27, 12, 12:20 pm
  #15  
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So if an FA tells you you can't use your headphones, computer, iPod, iPad, calculator, or electronic games that would be OK? All of these are listed in the "allowed above 10,000 ft" category.

Maybe for you but not for me.
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